tv [untitled] November 28, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm PST
you walk down the hallway and you see kids you are not sure if they are playing or fighting or bullying, if thurpb trained as a teacher one of the things you do, just the way lee is talking about with this teacher, you do something that you don't even think about, which is you go up to the target and say, are they bothering you? in that moment you have reinforced the power of the bully because the only thing that child can say is, no, they are just playing. you not only are reinforcing the blame here but you also are being seen by all the other kids in the hallway. so this is an important moment. so instead of doing that, what i believe a teacher should do because you assess themselves, sometimes you don't know these kids and they are really big. 11th grade kids are big and you have 30 kids, you have 7 periods a day, you have 5
minutes between classes, if that, you'd like to go to the bathroom at someplace, you have 30 kids coming to your next class, they are bigger than you, you don't know what to do, you know there's a bullying thing in process, you do the same instinctively as fast as you can, which is to say are they bothering you. with all due respect to the wonderful politicians in the room, what do you about putting bullying policy together is easy. what these people do to actually implement it is really hard and if that moment -- (applause) -- so i really want you to think about like 7 periods a day with teenagers with a 5-minute break. >> so what do you do? >> so you walk down the hallway and you see this happening and you do not address the target. you assess yourself, you are, like, okay, i am the authority figure,
okay, deep breath, do i know these children, do i not know these children, who is the person who seems to be doing it, who has the most social power? then you say to all the kids, looking them all in the eye, you tell them where to go, if you say the word, if you hear the word fag or gay or whatever those words are, you say that is unacceptable, unacceptable, not in my school, it is unacceptable. they say, we're just playing. if you use those words to put somebody down, it is unacceptable. then you get the kids on task where to go and you watch them as they go away. you can get a tremendous amount of information -- police people in the room. watching people walk away from that kind of moment, you get a tremendous amount of information. the person complaining the most about you probably has the most social power. the kids agreeing with that kid, as the bystander said, become the perpetrators. the kids who don't like it or
the target probably aren't going to be saying anything. so you watch the kids walk away and assess them. then if you hear as the kis are walking down the hall, she's such a b, you say, wait 1 second, i just heard you call me a b i'm coming at you with respect, i'm talking to you, i'm not yelling at you, i'm not doing this, i'm not doing that, i'm coming and telling you what i want for you and every kid in this school. are we clear? now go to your class. now, if the kid does that and he does it to you again, sure, write it up. but it has to be with the authority of you talking eye to eye with this kid with respect, with dignity. because it's not cool to just give it to the principal because the principal all day would be doing the write up and that frankly does not help the teacher's authority in that hall in that moment. they have to have the power, to have the authority at that moment you just called me a b i know you
are 6 foot 4, i know you are mumbling but i still heard it. i respect you enough that i'm talking to you face to face. i'm not going to write this up right now because i expect this problem will be done. are we good? in my experience when you talk to kids like that, they stop because you are coming at them with respect. the last thing i would do is go to the target when nobody is looking, hey, i need some help with something. as you are walking down the hallway, hey, the thing i saw in the hallway yesterday, i don't know if that was playing or what it was, but from my end that doesn't seem right to me. you know you can always come to me. i know i'm not your teacher, i know i don't have all the answers but i can find somebody who can. you don't expect a big hallmark moment where the kid tells you everything. but you are planting a seed. we need
to have teachers look like i am present, i am seen, i see you, i care about you and i care about you as much as i care about every single kid in this school. defend the rights of every child in the school and i'm going to do that in the 5 minutes of my break. (applause). >> lee, in your movie there was a scene on the bus that i know you want to tell us about. are we going to see it? because it has to do with what she's talking about. >> can i help you guys? >> very upset ?oo ?a i am going to be honest, i am upset enough i don't want to talk about --. >> sorry. okay, i just got confused about that clip. so this is the clip we're
trying to play, right, whoever is running this. hi, people back there. okay, we were in the scene with the principal that's exactly what we were just talking about. take it back, what's the farthest back on that clip that you've got? >> move. >> what? >> out of your care. >> that's it? oh, okay, well just play it, we'll talk about it afterwards. >> how can i help you guys? >> very upset. >> i am so upset i don't want him to ride the bus any more. >> get your ass off the bus. >> move. >> what? >> if they are not in your care, someone else who is just as capable of keeping him safe and i don't feel like that.
>> i've ridden it before. i've been on that route. i've been on a couple of them. they are just as good as gold. >> i've actually never seen that edit before. >> but you get the point. >> you get the idea, you know, that -- across the two worlds are really different, how the administrator sees it and what's happening for the student. what i will say about that is a lot of people ask about how did you get this footage? and also people say, well, why didn't you stop it, right? i
am confronted with this scene and this question and this moment a lot. and so i think what's really extraordinary about the -- at its core is the fact the kids are willing to do this in front of an adult, right? that they did not think that they were doing anything wrong, they did not believe that there would be any consequences to those actions because they have been bullying alex for so long in front of so many adults with no repercussions and so my presence became irrelevant, like, over time having filmed throughout a year in the school, you know, a guy with a small camera, kids really forgot about that really quickly. and you saw just normal life behavior go on that they would do on any given day. and so i
think what's really intense about that is how normal it can be in a school where the climate is poor where bullying thrives and lives and is tolerated in all sorts of subtle or more obvious ways, just how easy it is for those kids to behave that way. so it's a very telling scene and from my perspective, you know, we broke the rules of documentary film making afterwards and we took that footage to the school and to alex's parents and it really changed the course of the movie. those of you who have seen the movie really know things shifted after that point. but it was really hard to be on that bus and to see that happening to alex. >> having seen the follow-up to what you're talking about, i want lee to tell you about the
consequences to the boys who got called in. were there consequences? >> yeah, i mean, you see a type of disciplining that happens afterwards which was -- really, it was amazing. it felt like they didn't even want to deal with it. the only reason they actually dealt with it because i was in their face going are you guys going to deal with this? are you actually going to call in any of these kids? there was such a kind of yawn response to it. the discipline was pretty -- very weak in many ways. but so it calls forth for me as an example about school climate that i learned over the course of my year of shooting in that school because people talk about school climate all the time and i think it's hard to
grasp, right? although i know that this is a room of people that do deal with this and think about this all the time, but i will just share this one anecdote, which is during the course of that year, this is -- now frame this up against alex has just been assaulted by 10 kids on the bus, he's a kid with special needs, he has been bullied for years, he can barely speak without his lips shaking, i mean there's obviously something going on with this kid, right? but the response is a yawn. now a few weeks earlier $15 was stolen from a teacher in the building and the response was not a yawn, it was a 5-alarm fire. there were literally police cars came, lights on, sirens on, to the building. the principal who you never see in our movie because you never see, we saw that day running up and down the halls, they were pulling kids out of classes, they were
lining them up, this school is on lockdown until that thief was caught. guess what? what message do you think those kids got about stealing? we don't do it at this middle school. it's not okay. and all that same time that, like, subtle messaging around bullying is, we don't care about this. that's the best example i have from what i saw about how those messages are really conveyed to the kids because that trust issue is so important. i mean i screened, we have been screening the film across the country for school districts, this wonderful program i'm really proud of called one million kids it see bully. we were in cleveland and after the q and a student came up and
said explain the bullying that's going on, what do i do? i didn't want to give him a crap answer because i'm gone in two minutes. i said, who do you trust in the building? he said, nobody. i don't trust any educator in my building to help me. and it was interesting because there was a gentleman who had organized a screening who was himself a victim of bullying who had just spoken on stage to this group and i felt him really deeply, he was so committed, he was so passionate, so i said to this student, i said, what about mr. so and so? he's, like, i just never, the trust was so burnt that he wasn't willing it even try again. so i just -- more anecdotes. >> that's really helpful.
ros, one of the things we talked about before we came up here, kids think this is all a joke until they get more information and a lot of parents think this is a joke too and maybe some parents are coddling their children. >> as i do the work around the country that i do, i am concerned about how bullying is being politicized and that it's therefore losing its power, that we really are in this incredible place of opportunity where a lot of people are galvanized, here we are in this room. but we're right at this place where i think you get coopted into nothingness very easily. and the way in which that comes across is in, where people say to me, well, people are going to get into fights, people are going to get into
conflict, teachers are now saying to me, not every conflict is bullying and the policy is every single concept is bullying and it's not so i don't know what to do. this is making me cez. . the policies of it that i hear when i do radio shows, come on, this is the way we do all this stuff, a little jockeying back and forth. here is what i'm saying to people that's working in the areas where that's really a part of the culture. i say to them, bullying prevention programs are not coddling, it's actually the opposite. if done well we know that conflict is inevitable. you are going to get into conflicts with people, you are. and abuse of power is probably inevitable, too. at some point in your life you are going to go up against it. so what a good bullying prevention program does is teach social competency to manage those moments better.
that's what this is. forget about the word bullying. honestly, don't think about it, put it to your side, don't think about it now. what we are doing is we want our children to be prepared to handle conflict so they are not so anxious just like everybody is when you are dealing with conflict. when you did that, it becomes a moment of saying to somebody, it triggers everybody's desire, regardless of your political persuasion, about self-responsibility and independence. i find that to be a very helpful way to market this issue. the second thing that i think is important about this is to meet it head-on where it is, meaning i get it, i understand that you feel that we are losing, we are losing its content. and the reason it was sort of i think somebody said it this morning, is about the word drama. kids are not using the word bullying any more because bullying triggers adult involvement, maybe, right?
also you are weak, you are still perceived as being weak or targeted for some things identifying you as being bullied. if you use the word drama you don't have to take it seriously. i just want to put out for those people that drama is pretty much connected in my experience to girls' anger. it's a way of superficializing girls' anger and their conflict with each other. in my experience the last couple years certainly girls fighting in school is knew mayorally higher than a lot of the schools working with boys because there's more girl fights than boy fights and not fights. i don't want to be on the other end of that pufrplg, punch, say it that way. we have to watch the way this is morphing in the culture and the culture of young people so that drama is actually a word they are using to get away from defining it as something that they have to interact with us about.
so that's something that coddling and drama is something i think we need to pay particular attention to. also, for goodness sake, it is true, conflict is inevitable and people are going to do things, they are going it try to silence you, people are going to be cruel. you have to be prepared and it's not in this kind of i'm going to meet it with ult ultimatum but handle it with dignity. it's more mature to young people because bullying often comes across as something little kids have or people who are really socially isolated have. they want to be mature, teenagers are dealing with the most complicated problems they are ever going to deal with, ever, so if we talk to them in ways of giving them competency skulls skills that is
reflective of their life, then we have them. for example, one of the things i'm really looking for now is using the viking hunters open letter in response to the maryland politician who requested that the ravens player who supported gay marriage and gay people be quiet. there's a letter that a marin politician send to a ravens guy, linebacker, huge guy, saying please muzzle your player. it was written on his stationary, his official stationary. so what happened tt punter for the vikings wrote a scathing, horribly scathing like only a fipbl-year-old super smart kid could be so scathing, wrote an open letter that was bordering on really not appropriate, about this and about constitutional rights and not
only about supporting people and giving them dignity for whoever they were, but also about freedom of expression. now, you want to get boys to talk about equality in a classroom? you start from a letter that a vikings punter sent. that's where we also get into u.s. history and this is where we get into core rur can urriculum. this is about freedom of speech, it makes it relevant, it goes right into something that kids are already seen on espn so they are already primed to talk about it. that's the kind of stuff i think we need to be looking at so we get this bullying stuff out of their head and they see relevance instead. >> anyone want to take some questions? i want to start with a young student. >> everyone needs to read that letter. it is shocking.
>> alexis, are you here? you want to come up here? come on. don't be shy, nobody's going to bite. >> let's give her some encouragement here. we've heard from adults all day long, we want to hear from somebody who is -- come over here, young lady. my name is cheryl, thank you for being here. we have some great guests who care about you, everybody in this room cares about you. you have been through some training. you have a question for our guests? >> no, but i want to thank you for doing this. thank you. without this we'd be back at scare one. >> thank you. >> have you seen bullying at your school? can you tell us a little about that? >> i don't have bullying like at the movie but it's kind of like, oh, she wore this, so. >> did somebody in your school do something about it? >> not really. the teachers
don't see it. >> nobody wants to say anything to the teachers so they don't think this is a big deal. >> yeah. >> you've been through training to stop bullying so what does that mean? >> we'll try to stop it and we'll try to get them to stop saying those things. >> have you done that so far? have you been able to intercede? >> yeah. >> what happened? >> they stopped. >> nobody did anything bad to you? >> no. >> how did that make you feel? >> good. >> good job. thank you so much, honey. >> there are two things that she raises that i just want to highlight. one is the role of the teacher, what they can do and what can the peers do. i think one of the truisms that teachers need to remember, they know they just need to remember it,.
. >> their leadership as a team is compromised so whatever that team is, the football team, the basketball, the student counsel, the peer leaders. if the peer leader doesn't do the right thing -- and this is my initiative and if you don't do the right thing you don't look like what know what you're doing and that isn't cool and you didn't do your job that well, if we get in these ambassador programs and give them training and rigor and how difficult that moment can be you can transform a school because of the power
of kids talking to each other. >> all right. do we have another question? >> i appreciate that point you have been making. been, wooing with the board and the foundation and launch the student advisory board and i think we need to get that training kicked in really fast and that's a point well taken, and i appreciate lee you showing that clip because it illustrates an important distinction that we need to make. we don't want to send the message to america that bullying is normative; that bullying is normal, and that clip illustrated that the school is sending that message, and there is a difference, an important distinction between the school sort of embodying and sending the message to the kids that bullying is just a part of growing up and believing that
bullying in our school is normative because it simply isn't. the data shows bullying is going down and that is not a popular thing to say these days. bullying is a very important social problem that we need to fix, but it is not an epidemic and it's not on the rise and neither is cyber bullying and the top scholars in the country and in social science and psychology that saying that, so that's an important distinction so thank you both so much. >> and there is that and -- there's a balance between -- i mean when i hear that bullying is going down i mean all of us should rejoice because that to me is indicative of the fact of the work in communities across the country are starting to pay off, but it's going to be hard
in this ark and we are in this area and people are coming forward, kids are coming forward . suicides that would have been kept forward or not reporting and we're learning thanks to rapid fire and thanks to social networking or facebook and this is a sued -- all of this the -- the volume of bullying is going to rise in proportion with i think the actual drop in occurrences so to balance that and be aware of that i think is important. >>i totally agree, and that's really to rosylyn's point about this being a very, very important moment and we need to did it right. just on the subject of suicide the surgeon general came out this week and
there was a usa today story and suicide and especially among veterans right now and suicide is complex and we cannot send the message -- there is a lot of fear out there right now that bullying leads to suicide and suicide is complex and 90% of people who take their lives have mental health problems and there are rarely a single factor and that is something your film has been criticized for. >> sure. >> and some of the kids had other factors involved besides bullying and i think we have to be really careful. we need to talk about suicide. it's a public health problem. it's out there. >> but there are people that silence the confidence about suicide -- conservation about suicide